The Missouri Southern football team got huge games on both sides of the ball as Jared Brawner had 15 tackles with an interception and Toderick Hunt had three rushing touchdowns in a 19-18 road win at Emporia State today.
Southern (3-2, 1-2 MIAA) trailed early as Emporia State (3-2, 1-2 MIAA) picked up three first quarter field goals from Matt Perry to take a quick 9-0 lead.
The Lions’ defense held strong as despite driving deep into the Lions’ territory on each of their first three possessions, the Hornets never reached the end zone, and settled for a field goal each time.
Southern got on the board early in the second quarter to cut the lead to two. After a Fred Smith Kickoff return for 37 yards, the Lions set up shop with the ball at their own 47. Hunt had carries for 12 and 11 yards to start the drive and scored on an 18 yard scamper for the first of his three touchdowns on the day.
Emporia scored on their first play from scrimmage on the next drive to bring the lead to 15-7 and that would be how the score looked heading into halftime. Southern looked as if they’d add some more points to the scoreboard when Fred Smith took a punt back 57 yards to the Emporia 27 yard line, only to have the play called back due to two different penalties resulting in an ESU first down. Brawner, however would get the ball back for the Lions with an interception at the Lions’ 24 yard line.
Southern came out and dominated the third quarter, scoring on their first possession when Hunt scored on a two yard carry. Both teams punted on their next possessions, but Terrance Scott picked up a fumble by ESU’s Seville Ko and ran for 43 yards to the Emporia two-yard line setting up Hunt’s third touchdown of the game.
The Lions dominated the third quarter, outscoring ESU 12-0 in the period, however two failed two-point conversions, left the Lions up 19-15.
Perry hit his fourth field goal of the game to bring the Hornets to within one at 19-18 with ten minutes remaining in the fourth, but that’s when the Southern defense took over. The Lions forced Emporia to a four and out on its final three possessions, stopping two different fourth down attempts. They held the Hornets to zero yards in their final three possessions to seal the Lions’ first MIAA win of the season.
The Lions were out-gained 318-239, but held the Hornets to just 106 yards in the second half (70 coming on one possession), outscoring ESU 12-3. Southern was just 1-11 in third down conversions, but converted on two of three fourth down tries.
Hunt had 133 yards on 24 carries with three scores. That was the second time this season the junior has scored three rushing touchdowns in a game. Adam Hinspeter was 12-20 on the afternoon connecting with six different receivers on passes. The senior also went over 8,000 yards passing in his career, giving him 8,076 in his career and is only the third person in MIAA history to accomplish the feat, joining Missouri Western’s Kasey Waterman and Truman’s Eric Howe.
Brawner had 15 tackles, including 10 solo and an interception. Justin Cowper added 11 tackles, nine solo, as well as four tackles for a loss of 26 yards and a sack. The Lions had two sacks on the afternoon, an interception and a fumble recovery. It was the first fumble Emporia had given up all season.
Southern will be back in action next Saturday, as the Lions play host to Washburn University for Homecoming at 2 pm at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Southern will also induct three individuals into its Hall of Fame as former football player Terry Dobbs joins current men’s track and field and cross country coach Tom Rutledge and former volleyball player Neely Burkhart as the 25th class to be enshrined.
Justin Maskus, Missouri Southern athletics